Wi-Fi Product Watch 2008

Saturday, November 8, 2008 |

The BlackBerry Bold arrived yesterday. The new and much ballyhooed Wi-Fi-enabled BlackBerry with what is said to be a truly gorgeous half VGA 480 x 320 pixels, 65k color TFT display from carrier AT&T is being called the "fastest, most powerful BlackBerry ever." RIM is basing those claims on the processor speed and AT&T's 3G network.

SanDisk has reached yet another milestone in the battle to squeeze more and more storage in a finite amount of space. Earlier this fall, it became the first to announce microSDHC and Memory Stick Micro (also referred to as M2) memory cards with 16GB storage capacities.

SanDisk's 16GB microSDHC card ($99.99) is available now at Best Buy. The 16GB Memory Stick Micro ($129.99) should be available soon. Both are expected to be available at Verizon Wireless locations in November, as well. SanDisk is offering a five-year limited warranty on these new cards.

Tiny fingernail-sized microSDHC cards are also available in 4GB and 8GB from SanDisk. It is a very popular format in cell phones and smartphones, but can also be found in many other devices, including video cameras, GPS receivers and MP3 players.

Memory Stick Micro cards, which are about the same size as microSDs, are designed for Sony Ericsson's latest mobile phone and smartphone models. They also come in 2GB, 4GB, and 8GB capacities.

"Flash memory cards have increased in storage capacity, but even an 8GB card may be too small for anyone with GPS map data, a few movies, a game or two, a presentation file and other applications. There is an acute need for more mobile storage capacity," according to analyst Avi Greengart of Current Analysis. "16GB gives consumers the ability to carry their digital content with them and still have room to do more with their mobile phones."

SanDisk is the same company that fended off a buyout offer from Samsung recently. It also, somewhat boldly, introduced a new music-media format.

Called slotMusic, the music distribution format pre-loads an album onto a microSD card. The point of slotMusic, for which all the major labels are onboard, is to allow users to buy and use music without being dependent on a PC or internet connection. They simply insert the card into their microSD-enabled device to hear it.

The music is DRM-free, of high quality (320 kbps), and can be used instantly with any MP3 player, cell phone, etc. with a microSD slot. The cards will be packaged with a tiny USB sleeve, so they'll be easy to use and compatible with PCs (Windows, Linux, and Mac), as well.

SanDisk says the cards will be sold in rick-and-mortar and online stores throughout the U.S., including Best Buy and Wal-Mart, with Europe to follow. They should go for between $7 and $10.

[Article adapted from PDAStreet.com.]


Epson America has put a new brand at the top of its inkjet printer line. The Artisan 700 and 800 are elegantly styled home and home-office printer/copier/scanners that emphasize creative applications, printing 4-by-6-inch photos in as little as ten seconds along with text documents at 38 pages per minute (ppm).

Bbeneath their piano black finishes, the Artisans feature six-color Ultra Hi-Definition Claria ink with five droplet sizes for what Epsons says are "vivid, true-to-life photos with up to four times the fade resistance of photo lab prints."

Automatic photo correction and red-eye removal functions can be previewed on the model 700's 2.5-inch and model 800's 3.5-inch color LCD. Productivity features include standard duplex printing and built-in Wi-Fi, as well as Ethernet networking.

Standing just 5.9 inches tall, the Artisan 700 ($200) offers 2,400-dpi, 48-bit color scanning to a PC, memory card, or USB flash drive; card slots for printing images without a PC; and one-touch color and black and white copying with fit-to-page printing and background removal for clean copies of text documents. Each can create photo layouts with various size photos on a single sheet of paper, or even turn plain paper into college-ruled or graph paper for school.

The Artisan 800 ($300) adds faxing with a 30-page automatic document feeder, as well as 4,800-dpi scanning and a 7.8-inch touch panel that lights up only the buttons necessary for easy selecting, copying, enlarging, rotating, cropping, and printing of photos.

By Naomi Graychase